5 Coolest Creatures

Yes, this isn’t an album, DVD, television programme or game – but, dammit, this is my blog! I can write about what I want to write about! What’s inspiring me today is cool animals.
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Seahorse by Mohammed Al Momany wikipedia

5. Seahorse

I’ve always loved seahorses – or hippocampus, as they’re formally known.

Even though they’re fish, they can’t really swim, and just sort of wiggle upright. The coronet on their head is as individual as a human fingerprint. Most bizarrely of all, the males carry the young: the females just drop off hundreds of eggs in the male’s pouch and let him lug them around for a while. The female visits him daily for snuggles, but after the sprogs are born, the male shirks his parental responsibilities (until next time).

Like humans, some seahorses have a different mate for each batch of offspring while others mate for life. All I know is that if I was a lady seahorse and I had such a beautiful, noble creature willing to carry my young, I’d be hanging onto him, too.

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4. Wolverine

Its name is from the Latin for “glutton”, and this animal will take some pretty scary risks for food. The 27-pound fluffball has been known to attack black bears and even polar bears – and sometimes it even wins.

The wolverine’s thick fur is hydrophobic – which doesn’t mean that it’s terrified of water, but does mean it’s resistant to frost (all the better for stalking polar bears with). It even has special badass teeth designed for tearing off strips of meat that has been frozen solid – which is is particularly useful if you’re a 27-pound weaselly-thing trying to take down a thousand-pound polar bear.

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3. Honey Badger

Honey_badger jaganath wikipedia

These cute little critters eat snakes and scorpions. Theory has it that most predators are so s***-scared of honey badgers that the countershaded coats of cheatah kittens are in imitation of the honey badger’s colouration – because nobody f***s with honey badgers.

They’re so dangerous to livestock that farmers try to cull them – but even machete blows won’t kill them! The only sure way of killing them quickly is through a blow to the skull with a club or a shot to the head with a powerful rifle, as their skin is almost impervious to arrows and spears.

Here’s the very famous clip of the honey badger stealing a puff adder’s lunch … and then eating the adder for afters.

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2. Armadillo

Nine-banded_Armadillo tom friedel wikipedia

The Aztecs named them “azotochtli”, Nahuatl for “turtle-rabbit.” There’s something inherently wonderful about an animal that’s a cross between a turtle and a rabbit.

The Giant Armadillo is up to 150cm in length, while the itty bitty Pink Fairy Armadillos are only about 12cm long. They’re one of America’s weirder species, along with the bison and Sarah Palin, and like the platypus have an abnormally low body temperature (33-36C) so are literally “cool”.

The plates on their backs are called “scutes” and made of horn-covered dermal bone – but their underside is all fluffy and soft. Only the Tolypeutes type can roll into a ball. The famous Nine-banded Armadillo of North America just jumps straight into the air – which doesn’t end so well if they’ve just been surprised by one of the USA’s equally famous gas-guzzling off-roaders. Its armour is so heavy that in order to swim it has to puff itself up with air until it’s almost doubled in size.

There’s a type of armadillo called the Screaming Hairy Armadillo, which alone qualifies it for this list.

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1. Platypus

Platypus_in_Geelong Two Wings wikipedia

By far the coolest animal in the world is the duck-billed platypus. It’s a creature so strange that early European naturalists thought it was a hoax. Let’s start with the bill: that’s its nose. It doesn’t open like a duck’s bill at all – its mouth is underneath.

The platypus keeps its temperature at 32C (90F) to stay that bit more chilled out than other mammals. And while we’re on the subject of mammaries, there’s no nipple-sucking for this wee beastie: it just leaks milk through its pores. That’s not the only thing it secretes – the male platypus has venomous spurs on each hind limb, so you really do not want to piss him off. The platypus has ten sex chromosomes, compared with two (XY) in most other mammals (for instance, a male platypus is always XYXYXYXYXY). If that wasn’t odd enough for you, the platypus uses electrolocation, finding its prey by detecting electric fields generated by muscular contractions.

So we have an egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal that leaks milk and wins the “coolest” award by staying colder than other mammals. Well, that, and being freaky as f*** and still being fluffy and cute.

The Australians love the platypus so much he’s on their currency. Do you blame them?

Australian_20c_coin wikipedia

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6 comments on “5 Coolest Creatures

  1. Please answer me this very important question.
    Is it true honeybudger is mostly interested in man’s genitals when making an attack?

  2. Pingback: 10 strangest search terms on Reinspired « Reinspired

    • Oh, did I neglect to do so? These days I put the credits info in the mouseover but occasionally I’ve forgotten. Which one’s yours?

      :edit: On second thoughts, I’ve just swapped out any non-WikiCommons images with ones from Wikipedia and put in the missing info, because the sites I got the images from were equally lazy with their (non-)attribution. (To get info on the videos just click on the More Info tab.)

      Thanks for the reminder, and please accept my apologies.

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